Allergic Reaction To Shellfish

By | July 31, 2015

Allergic Reaction To Shellfish

People me get allergy to any of the food that they include in their diet. Some people are allergic to the lactose present in the milk and dairy products, some people are allergic to the nuts, peanuts, wheat, yeast or some other food. They can get allergic to the fish as well. Likewise they can get allergic reaction to the shellfish too.

What is shellfish?

Shellfish is the culinary and fisheries term for the exoskeleton bearing aquatic invertebrates. They are used as food. Some live in fresh water and some of them live in saltwater. Shellfish include following:

What is allergic reaction to shellfish:

The abnormal response by the body immune system to the  proteins present in the shellfish is known as allergic reaction to shellfish.

Statistics of reaction to shellfish:

About one percent of the adults have the documentable food allergies. They are commonly allergic to the peanuts, the shellfish, the tree nuts, the eggs and some other seafood. About the quarter of such allergic  people are the people who are allergic to shellfish according to Dr. Metcalfe . According to The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention the crustacean shellfish are one of the eight groups which make up to the 90 percent of all the serious allergic reactions in the U.S.

Causes of allergic reaction to shellfish:

The protein called as the  tropomyosin is found in muscles of shellfish. Studies and research conducted at India and at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease found that this protein is responsible for allergic reaction to shellfish in humans.

All type of food allergies are caused by the immune system malfunctions. immune system identifies some shellfish protein as harmful, that start triggering the production of  antibodies in the body as a response to  the shellfish protein termed as allergen as it makes a person allergic to shrimp. When the next time you come in the contact with the allergen, the immune system releases the chemical called as histamine and some other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms and the allergy itself.

Risk factors for allergic reaction to shellfish:

You are at the increased risk of developing the shrimp allergy if the allergies of any type are more common in your family.

Even though people of any age can develop a this type of allergy, it is more common in adults as compare to others. Among the adults, the shrimp allergy is more common in the women as compare to men. Among the children, the shrimp allergy is more common in boys as compare to girls.

Symptoms of allergic reaction to shellfish:

There are several symptoms of the allergic reaction to shellfish. When you observe the symptoms in you, you should readily repost these symptoms to your doctor so that diagnosis can be made at its earliest and treatment could be started. Early treatment and diagnosis may reduce the complication. If not diagnosed at the earliest, it can become complicated. We will look in to the complications of the allergic reactions to shellfish shortly. Right now we will look in to the symptoms of the shrimp allergy. Its symptoms are listed below:

  • Tingling in the mouth.
  • Hives.
  • Itching.
  • eczema called as the atopic dermatitis.
  • Swelling of the lips, the face, the tongue and the throat, or even swelling in some other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing.
  • nasal congestion.
  • Skin reactions.
  • trouble breathing.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Fainting.

Allergic reaction to shellfish can also cause a severe and potentially life threatening reaction known as the anaphylaxis. The  anaphylactic reaction to shrimp  or anything else is a medical emergency which requires the  treatment with the  epinephrine which is an adrenaline injection and a trip to emergency room.

Signs or symptoms of the anaphylaxis include:

  • A swollen throat or a lump in the throat, airway constriction t makes it difficult for you to breathe.
  • Shock.
  • a great drop in your blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse.
  • Dizziness.
  • lightheadedness .
  • loss of consciousness.

Complications in allergic reaction to shellfish:

In case of severe allergic reaction to shellfish allergy can lead to anaphylaxis which is dangerous allergic reaction. it is marked by the swollen throat resulting in air passage way constriction, rapid pulse, the shock, and  dizziness or  lightheadedness. It can be very life threatening.

When you have shrimp allergy, in that case you may be at the increased risk of the anaphylaxis if:

  • You are suffering from the asthma
  • You are suffering from the allergic reactions very because of small amounts of shrimp. It is an extreme sensitivity.
  • Or you have the history of food induced anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis could be treated with the emergency injection of the epinephrine which is the adrenaline. If you are at the risk of having the  severe allergic reaction to shellfish, you always should carry the  injectable epinephrine the EpiPen, Auvi-Q or some others.

Diagnosis of the allergic reaction to shellfish:

The doctor will ask you about your symptoms and he may perform the physical exam to find out or rule out some other medical problems. He or she may also recommend you one or both of the following tests:

  • Skin test:

In the skin test, the skin is pricked and then exposed to small amount of the proteins found in the shrimp. If you have allergic reactions to shellfish, you will develop the raised bump called as hive at the test site on the skin.

  • Blood test:

It is  also called allergen specific IgE antibody test or the radioallergosorbent  abbreviated as RAST test.  This type of the test can measure your immune system response to the shrimp proteins by measuring amount of certain antibodies present in your blood. This is known as immunoglobulin E IgE antibodies.

The history of the allergic reactions to shellfish shortly after the exposure to the shellfish can be the sign of shrimp allergy, However, allergy testing is only sure way to tell what is causing the symptoms and to rule out some other possibilities like food poisoning.

Treatment of allergic reaction to shellfish:

The only authentic way to prevent the allergic reaction to shrimp is to avoid the shrimp. However, despite of the fact that you do your  best efforts to get rid of the allergy or to avoid it, you may come into the contact with shrimp.

The doctor may instruct you to treat the mild allergic reaction to the shrimp, with the medications like antihistamines in order to reduce the signs and the symptoms like rashes and itchiness.

If you have severe allergic reaction to shellfish like (anaphylaxis, you will likely need the emergency injection of the epinephrine which is the adrenaline. If you are at the risk of having the severe reaction, carry the injectable epinephrine with you at all the times. If you are at the risk for the anaphylaxis to shrimp, your doctor may instruct you to administer the  epinephrine even at the first sign of the allergic reaction. After you use the epinephrine, seek the emergency medical care.

Prevention from allergic reaction to shellfish:

If you have the shrimp allergy, the only best possible way to avoid the allergic reaction is to avoid the use of shrimp and shrimp products that contain shrimp. Even a small amount of the shellfish can cause the severe allergic reaction to shellfish is some people.

Avoiding the allergic reaction to shellfish:

  • Be cautious when you are dining out:

When you are dining at the restaurants, always check out  to make sure that the pan, the oil or the utensils used for shrimp are not also used to prepare some other foods, creating cross contamination. It may be necessary to avoid the eating at seafood restaurants, because there is   a high risk of cross contamination.

  • Read labels: You should read the labels becausecross contamination can occur in the stores where some other food is processed or displayed near the shrimp or during manufacturing. You should read food labels very carefully.

Shrimp is rarely a hidden ingredient however,  it may be in the fish stock or in the seafood flavoring. The companies are required to label the product that contains the shrimp or other food that often cause the allergic reactions. However, regulations do not apply to the mollusks like as clams, oysters and scallops.

  • Keep your distance:

You may also need to completely avoid those places where shrimp is prepared or processed. Some of the people get allergic reaction to shellfish after touching shrimp or by inhaling steam from cooking of shrimp.

If you have the shrimp allergy, you should better talk with the doctor about carrying the emergency epinephrine. You should be wearing a medical alert bracelet or some necklace that lets other know you have the food allergy.

It is not true that people with shrimp allergy also will be allergic to the iodine or the radiocontrast dye used in some of the lab procedures. Reactions to the radiocontrast material or to  iodine is not related to the shrimp allergy.


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